Sprachcaffe GEOS News
We are thrilled to announce that Bildungsurlaub has recognized Sprachcaffe GEOS Toronto!
Bildungsurlaub, is an institution that distinguishes any organization that promotes career development for the German national. Germans who wish to expand their skills to benefit their workplace and country apply for this funding.
There is no secret that Language Travel is beneficial for those looking to improve their career path. In our ever globalizing world we need to bridge all our wonderful and unique personalities to increase our success. Languages play a huge role in professional relationships. Sprachcaffe understand this, and work to promote peace through their diverse roster of several languages taught worldwide. Student mobility means a more culturally aware and successful workforce.
Climb the career ladder, sell that prime real estate, and improve professional relationship all through Language! Visit us at www.geos.net or www.sprachcaffe.com for more information.
Meet our newest Student Ambassadors! Morgane and Beatriz, two eccentric and brilliant women sharing a sole mission to break down cultural barriers among our diverse student body!
Being a cross cultural cosmopolitan, Morgane, originally from France, brings a quirky and fun personality to the school culture with a fluid understanding for tolerance of various nationalities. Beatriz, with her Venezuelan flair, brings a contagious and positive energy that draws people in. Together these intelligent beauties are the perfect representation that GEOS Toronto has been searching for in promoting and inspiring cultural diversity and integration.
Having studied at GEOS for roughly 6 months, they both understand the common struggles of learning the English language. They effortlessly perform their roles conversing with shy students and planning events with the staff for the other students, while juggling their own language goals!
We love our new ambassadors and we’re sure that you will too. So, come by and say hi! But chances are they will greet you first.
Sprachcaffe International recently announced their new addition to the family of programs already established in Cuba and Mexico, SC Travel Adventures. The new adventure tourism program is in response to the increasing demand of travelers who want more than the typical tourist experience. The fortuitous timing of talks between America and Cuba favorably tipped the scales towards a company already well-established within the country’s foundation. Sprachcaffe is one of 2 privately owned companies on the Cuban chamber of commerce. This allows for certain privileges, such as cornering adventure tourism as an emerging sector, and what a sector it is. Sprachcaffe is an expert in the industry, attracting over +15,000 tourists a year to Cuba & Mexico and +55,000 clients to their global locations.
Adventure tourism has been a burgeoning trend in recent years. According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), travelers spent over $89 billion on adventure tourism in 2010. This is not including the $53 billion they spent on related gear, such as climbing gear used for climbing mountains. The growth in the adventure tourism industry has increased by 42% by 2013 increasing its net worth to approximately $263 billion. Cue travel companies scrambling to get a piece of this action.
This trend correlates nicely with the growing number of health clubs as well as the emerging market for wearable fitness trackers. According to surveys conducted by the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the amount of health clubs in the US has grown from 26,830 in 2005 to 30,500 in 2012. This means more money is being diverted into the health industry. This can be seen with the increasing development of fitness quantifying technology such as heart rate monitors and calorie counters. There is a deeper and more meaningful trend that is emerging with all this change. The definition of wealth is evolving. Self-improvement is becoming increasingly associated with wealth. With the growing appreciation for physical and mental health, being financially wealthy is no longer enough. From signing up to pricey mindfulness meditation courses to taking up cycling, which requires one to purchase expensive gear, those with money are spending to improve their health. Adventure travel is a naturally occurring byproduct of people’s desire for self-improvement and Sprachcaffe anticipated for moments exactly like these.
With over 30 years of experience in the industry, competitive prices, and excellent customer service, Sprachcaffe International has established itself as a top player. Get in touch with their local office
With America’s relations with Cuba improving and the adventure tourism industry scrambling to get a piece of the pie, the opportune moment has arisen for Sprachcaffe International to introduce their new adventure tourism programs! From hiking to biking, Sprachcaffe is making sure to cover all things related to adventure tourism on Cuban grounds. Further, with over 20 established years in Cuba and Mexico, as well as their position on the Cuban chamber of commerce, Sprachcaffe now looks to dominate both countries’ adventure tourism markets.
Cycling is a recent and trending topic, mostly among the younger adult community. There has been an array of articles that dubbed cycling as the new golf. Young entrepreneurs and the affluent are looking for an alternative sport that supports the criteria of a ‘wealthy’ life and cycling fits the bill; being physically and mentally healthy is now just as important as financial health. Cycling has ample health benefits and the equipment required is by no means cheap. Sprachcaffe made cycling even more enticing for these wealthy thrill seekers by offering an exceptionally beautiful landscape to ride in. Choose from one of their riding tours, ranging from 8 – 14 days, each with their own hidden gems for adventurers to discover, such as the grand Sierra de Escambray Mountains or the natural beauty of Parque Guama. Cyclists may pick from a variety of bespoke programs made for individuals in different skill groups. Each tour is accompanied by a support bus that will transport the cycler’s luggage and provide rest whenever they wish to take a break.
If taking the time to smell the flowers is a more comfortable pace then the trekking or birdwatching programs are a great option. For those looking for a twist in travelling they can take a salsa dance program that takes them across the country. With over 30 adventure tourism programs, Sprachcaffe is making Cuba and Mexico accessible for travelers who want to feel like they’re actually on an adventure!
Joy MacFarland from GEOS Languages Plus is Changing Teaching as we Know It
Every year the TESOL International Association hosts a convention that draws educators from afar. TESOL is an organization that centralizes itself around an extremely important goal; their goal is to improve how we educate those who wish to learn English by using a scientific approach, to ensure development of quality teaching methods. It’s no wonder there are thousands upon thousands of educators and innovators that apply for a chance to speak. How happy, then, do you think we were to hear that our very own Assistant Regional Academic Manager, Joy MacFarland from GEOS Languages Plus was chosen for the honor!
Joy’s journey toward TESOL began, like most, over a conversation with a good friend. Several years back, Joy had met the head of Teacher Training at Rennert NY, James Stakenburg, at a TESOL convention and the rest (as they say) is history. One particularly significant conversation sparked an idea which evolved into the talk of TESOL 2015! Aptly titled Teaching More by Doing Less: Student Generated Learning, Joy reminded people of a simple yet powerful truth. Students will learn better if they are more involved with their learning. Of the many, one of the activities were to use a specific grammatical tool (i.e., present perfect), choose a famous character or recent well-known news story, and use the present perfect to ask other students what they “have been doing”, all the while pretending to attend their high school reunion, mixing grammar, current events, culture and vocabulary! Talk about knocking multiple birds with a single stone. Can she do your taxes, plan your wedding, and pick up your dry cleaning? No. Sorry, we already tried asking.
When learning a new language, it’s important to study hard and practice using it. It’s also important to make the most of your time by studying effectively. But what does it mean to be effective and how should we practice? So here it is! The most important thing about learning a new language is to be open minded yet focused.
Stress is rigid, fun is natural
Stress makes you use all your brain to fixing whatever is causing you to feel stress to not feel that stress anymore. This keeps you from experiencing the moment because your mind is somewhere else. When you’re having fun, you just think about having fun! Similarly, when you learn a language, it’s important to use it in a natural state rather than thinking too much about when and how to use what you know.
Work hard before you play hard
Did you know that you can’t remember something unless you pay attention to it? Do you remember what you had for lunch 3 days ago? ? It’s super important to have fun and be natural with a language but you need to learn the words first! This is where you DO think about when and how to use your vocabulary and grammar. The more you prepare the more your mind can refer to when you’re being natural!
What’s the take home message?
There’s a time and place for everything when it comes to language learning. Think of it like driving. At first, you need to focus to learn all the techniques but eventually you can drive while talking to your friend. So, what’s the most important thing about learning a new language? Focus when you learn it and relax when you use it. Happy learning!
Let’s get one thing straight. There is nothing pleasant about uncomfortably cold temperatures and snow that makes it difficult to walk. But like most things, life is sometimes more beautiful through difficulties. So, make the effort to leave the comfort of your home this winter for one of these rewardingly wonderful activities!
10. Midnight Skate
It’s winter in Toronto. Skating is the obvious thing to do! Choose from the many community centres around the city or some outdoor skate parks that are open through the night. Nathan Phillips Square, located in the heart of Toronto, is always a great choice.
9. Indoor Beach Volleyball
North Beach Volleyball is located in North York, Toronto, and is perfect for those who can’t accept that winter is here.
8. A Brisk Morning Run
As simple as it sounds, a morning run in winter can be very fun and fulfilling! It’s also a terrific way to start the day! Just make sure to dress for the weather.
About 3 hours north of Toronto are the Blue Mountains of Ontario. It may not be Whistler but it is a great place to learn how to learn one of the best activities of the winter!
6. Restaurants with a view
If you’re not into all that moving around pick a nice restaurant with a view! Downtown Toronto has many great restaurants to choose from and each with their own atmosphere. Choose to sit by the window to see how winter compliments your experience! Sitting in a warm and cozy restaurant in winter can be one of the most comfortable experiences.
5. Fun Angels!
Take a break from your life and make snow angels! Not into that? Then watch other people make them. Someone has to have fun during the winter.
4. Winter Market
Farmer’s markets are one of the pride and joys of Toronto. Have you tried an egg from a chicken that received lots of love all of its life? It tastes better. Much better.
Because everything is pre-filtered in winter.
2. Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival Toronto
Don’t worry! We didn’t forget about you! Party outdoors in the dead middle of winter with the rest of Toronto. This is an event you must attend.
1. Plan for Spring!
Okay, so after reading this, some of you are still not convinced. Winter is a wonderful season to take advantage of but we understand spring and summer are also pretty great. Go ahead and plan!
Travelling abroad as an international student has been a growing trend in the past few years and for good reason. Who doesn’t like the idea of going on vacation disguised as school? It sounds like a great idea but there’s a lot that goes into planning for your trip. Aside from getting your visa and booking your flight you want to pick the right program that matches your goals.
International students who have plans to go to college or university are often required to take the English tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. Here at GEOS Toronto, we took advantage of one of our busy instructors for a quick Q & A session. Edward Shaw, our IELTS program instructor, has provided us with a few important insights into the tricky world of English language tests.
What is the IELTS Test?
“The IELTS test is the International English language testing system. It’s broken down into the 4 skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The course follows an industry standard text that covers these 4 categories systematically. It’s the world’s favorite but I prefer the TOEFL as an instructor”
Which is better? IELTS or TOEFL?
“One isn’t better than the other. IELTS has become more popular than TOEFL but it all depends on what the schools or employers are asking for. Students should do a lot of research into their school or workplace they wish to apply to. Having a goal is very important before selecting which test to take.”
How can students do well on the IELTS tests?
“It’s going to sound like common sense but the best way to do well is to pay attention in class and try to answer all the questions whether they know the answers or not. Any answer is better than no answer. Students should also set personal learning goals. For example, they should think of which situation they plan on using the language for. If they plan to speak English at work they should choose to memorize work terms. English is a complicated language and choosing what to learn first is very important.”
What’s the first thing you notice about outstanding students?
“Students who ask questions get ahead. Critical thinking is one key thing that puts students over their classmates on the IELTS. Get as many examples of the language as possible by asking lots of questions.”
Thank you, Edward!
Learning a new language can be difficult but it is goal-oriented hard work that pays off. Happy learning everyone!
Food is one of the best things about travelling abroad. In fact, it’s also your language and cultural instructor if you choose to let it instruct you.
Unless you’re like some people I know who think about their next great meal in the middle of their current one, food is a great way to be present in the moment. The atmosphere, people, and of course the food, occupy all your attention as most new experiences do. During this time it’s best to let your attention guide you to the sights, sounds, and flavors or your experience. You’ll notice that you pick up on cultural differences much more easily if you’re open, accepting and in the moment.
That was step one. That is, paying attention to the atmosphere, body language, and getting an idea of what locals eat helps understand the context of the language in a restaurant setting. This is when food makes us practice how to ask for recommendations or which wine goes well with which entrée. Now is the time to practice all the basics you’ve learned with waiters who are there to please you. Take this opportunity to ask as many questions as you want! But remember to enjoy your meal.
Lastly, food can introduce you to those who eat it. If you like coffee, visit the local café to make small talk with a coffee connoisseur. These are passionate people who share your love for coffee! You’re at a café, you’re a tourist, and you’re speaking to someone who shares your passion. This is what you call a perfect opportunity to improve your knowledge on the local language and culture.
Food is one of the best things about travelling abroad. So take advantage of it!
You probably remember your first breakup in a serious relationship or your graduation better than what you had for dinner last night. Pretty cool, right?
2. Break things down into meaningful chunks of 7. Psychologists worked long and hard to discover this magic number. They found that people remember about 7 items that are completely unrelated to one another. That’s right! If you make the list meaningful you can remember more, a LOT more! For example, if we try to remember the following words: car, carrot, chair, sweater, table, cucumber, Christmas, jacket, TV stand, snow, Easter, tomatoes, van, New Years, and socks. It’s a little difficult to remember them all but it becomes a lot easier if you group them into the following categories: vehicles, furniture, clothing, vegetables, and holidays.
3. You remember the first and last items on lists the best. Remembering everything requires too much brain power so our brain came up with a cool strategy to remember the first and last time something happens the best! This translates to life experiences, lists of items, and pretty much anything that we learn.
4. Take more breaks. You’re going to love this one. Psychologists believe that once you spend a good amount of time memorizing something it’s good to take a break or even sleep on it. This helps with a process called memory consolidation. What it does is allow your brain to process the fresh information by transferring information from short term memory to long term memory.
5. Say things out loud and write them down. This is such a simple yet powerful tool! By saying the words out loud and writing it down you are taking advantage of something called multisensory integration. This is your brains ability to combine information it receives from touching, smelling, tasting, hearing, and seeing something. You guessed it! If you say a word out loud while you write it, it’s easier to remember than to do just one of those things.
6. Repeat! Because every skill improves with repetition.
Make things meaningful, get lots of rest, and practice your words. Learning new words can be difficult but if you take the time to work with your mind, it will make a world of a difference. Take care of your mind, it will take care of you!
There’s a Multicultural Battle Going Down at GEOS Toronto and Venezuela Might Win! 8.4.15
Understanding how your mind works does wonders to help you remember more words. Just like using post-it notes to remind us we need to do something, we can use some mental tricks to help us remember more while wasting less time. Now, doesn’t that sound nice!
1. Emotionally charged mental images trumps everything else! Our brain is pretty smart. Whenever we experience something that makes us really happy or unbelievably scared, our brain remembers everything to near photographic detail. Our staff here at Sprachcaffe GEOS Toronto has decided to have a mock cook-off to see which of us can make the best dish! Take a step back, you read that correctly. It’s a mock culinary battle of the cultures and it’s about to go down.
The Cultural Contestants
Randy – Our Randy, from Ansan, China, is a family man who moved to Canada for his family. His adapted interests from visiting mountains to skiing reflects his dedication to do whatever it takes!
Masterpiece Dish – Pan seared salmon or yellowtail fish with lemon juice or wine. Garnished with an exotic flower from China!
Olga – She’s from Moscow, Russia, and she’s ready for the challenge. She loves to travel and this is not just wishful thinking. Her laundry list of destinations she has conquered ranges from Montenegro to Egypt and she isn’t looking to slow down. Her dream is to open a travel agency in Guatemala! How appropriate. She would also like us to promote her there.
Masterpiece Dish – Pasta with rich, homemade, tomato ragu with shrimp. Garnished with garlic, sald, and let the pasta absorb all the tomato juice. Yum!
Sheryl – Half Colombian and half Venezuelan, Sheryl (has an unfair advantage in this competition, but more on that later!) left Venezuela, equipped with an undergraduate degree in culinary arts and a passion for adventure, to see the world! She reached for Europe and landed in Canada, she said it was cheaper. Baby steps!
Masterpiece Dish – Seafood AND meat paella. YUP!
Caley – Brought up by Czechoslovakian and Irish parents who love to travel, Caley was born with an unquenchable wanderlust. As a child, she would play with globes and memorize countries with her dad. Even her interest in study was diaspora and transnational studies. She got bit by the travel bug. She got bit hard.
Masterpiece Dish – Makovnik or poppy seed roll. Carefully prepared dough to ensure a delicate flavor.
Neil – With German, English, and Irish roots, Neil is a classic Canadian with a twist. He’s all about hockey, competitive swimming, baseball, and gym life. But don’t let the kind Canadian exterior fool you. Underneath, he is dressed in elaborate tattoos and parties like it’s the last weekend! But he’s nice.
Masterpiece Dish – Steak and seafood on the BBQ. Self-proclaimed grill master!
Alexia – Our director comes from a mix of Colombian and Greek background that adds a certain “sha-na-nee-sha-na-na” to her personality. With her passion for international development and human rights and years of experience in the student mobility and travel industry, her mother previously working for the NY United Nations and being host to international students, you can say she’s a cultural connoisseur.
Masterpiece Dish – Calentado or crazy rice! It is a collection of all the left-overs from the week. Before you yak, think about this. Monday’s chicken skewers, Wednesday’s baba ganoush, and Thursday’s gourmet mac and cheese… Right??
Zach – Zach is our content writing, tech savvy, ninja. His parents from Scottish and Italian background who insist that he wears a kilt and write in the family book, which gets passed down to the first born of each generation. Guess who’s next to write in it!
Masterpiece Dish – Start with a soup base and you just throw things in it. The Zachson Potluck.
Ashley – A 4th generation Canadian who explores the world to look for buried treasures. Seriously. With a deep interest in archeology, her travel adventures become very interesting. At each destination, plumbob in hand, Ashley sets out for the open land behind her hotel to dig. Just kidding! Though it’s always interesting to ask her about her global excavations.
Masterpiece Dish – Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert waffles! What’s a lunch waffle you ask? How about a waffle made out of spinach and cheese!
Charlotte – Originally from Germany but a citizen of the world. Charlotte has lived in 5 countries in 5 years and travelled to many more. She likes horseback riding, tennis, hiking, and generally anything to do with the outdoors!
Masterpiece Dish – Chocolate lava cake muffins. Just going to let your imagination run wild with this one.
Dan – Dan is the one writing this article. He doesn’t always talk in third person, but when he does, it’s to give himself a grand introduction. His Korean background has played a minor role until he recently decided to maintain his bilingualism. He’s active and always loves to meet interesting people. He also runs the social show at GEOS Toronto so you can follow up on his daily activities at “geostoronto” on Instagram and “GEOSToronto” on Twitter!
Masterpiece Dish – Aubergine caviar. A paste made with eggplant inspired by Chef Ramsay!
Not having tasted any of their dishes, your guesses are as good as ours! Sheryl is a chef and the chocolate lava cake just sounds ridiculous. You can be the judge! Just tweet your answers to @GEOSToronto and we will list the winner by the end of the month.